Is it Risky to Accept Cash From an at-Fault Driver?

Posted on behalf of Jeff Pitman on February 23, 2022 in Car Accidents
Updated on April 24, 2024

cash offer from at-fault driver After a car crash, it could be tempting to accept a cash offer from the other driver involved. However, even for a collision that seems minor, it is risky to accept cash from an at-fault driver.

PKSD discusses important factors to consider if an at-fault driver offers you cash for your damages at the crash scene.

If you were involved in a car crash caused by another driver, we recommend seeking legal help right away. Even if you are not sure if you have a valid claim, our firm is prepared to help. Get answers to your legal questions with no pressure to file a claim and at no cost to you. Call today to learn more.

FREE case review with a qualified attorney. 414-333-3333

Why Would the at-Fault Party Offer You Cash?

An at-fault party may give you a cash offer after a collision he or she caused for several reasons.

For instance, the negligent driver may offer you cash to:

  • Resolve the claim without having to report it to his or her insurance company
  • Prevent getting points added to his or her driving record
  • Not risk getting into legal hot water if he or she was impaired or uninsured
  • Avoid getting a ticket if he or she committed a traffic violation

Often a negligent driver who offers you cash may simply want to avoid getting police to the scene.

Why You Should Call Police and Report the Accident

In Wisconsin, drivers must report a car crash to police, as required by law, if it resulted in:

  • Any amount of injury to another person
  • An estimated $1,000 or more of damage to another person’s property or vehicle
  • At least $200 or more in damages to state or government property

Calling the police after a crash is a good idea most of the time. In addition to having first responders examine the crash scene, you will have an official record of what happened. This document is helpful if you later pursue a legal claim.

Is it Illegal if I Decide to Accept a Cash Offer From an at-Fault Party?

If a crash is minor and there are no injuries, it is not illegal to accept a cash offer in Wisconsin. Sometimes drivers may choose to do this after a crash to avoid the risk of their insurance premiums going up. However, your premiums will not increase if you did not cause the crash.

What Are the Risks of Accepting a Cash Offer After a Crash?

Once you accept an offer from the other side, the law may consider your case settled. Unfortunately, many crash victims find out later why it was a bad idea to settle in this way.

A Cash Offer May Not Fully Cover Vehicle Repair Costs

A cash offer or even a first settlement offer from the insurance company almost never covers all the victim’s costs. This is because the victim, or his or her attorney, cannot know what those costs are so soon after the crash.

For example, your car may cost a lot more to fix than you thought. Maybe there was damage to the frame as well. Once a car is damaged in a crash, that vehicle diminishes in value. All of these costs beyond the cash offer would pass on to you.

You Discover Injuries Later and End Up With Medical Costs

It is important to seek medical care after any crash, even if you do not see a wound or immediately feel pain. The evidence of some injuries, including those that are severe or even life-threatening, may not show up right away. For instance, some symptoms of serious internal injuries may not show up for hours or even days later. Waiting to seek treatment could put your health at risk, for example, if you suffered:

    • Internal organ damage
    • Head trauma or brain injury
    • Spinal cord injury
    • Torn retina or retinal detachment
    • Internal bleeding
    • Soft tissue damage

Any of these injuries could result in costly medical bills that a cash offer would not cover. You could be left paying for a huge sum of money out of your own pocket.

You May Miss Out on Compensation for Other Damages

Accepting a cash offer from the at-fault driver could cause you to miss other compensation you may be owed. For instance, you may be owed both economic and noneconomic damages. A qualified attorney knows how to accurately figure out these damages to be sure you are fairly compensated.

To understand the difference, economic costs include:

    • All related medical bills
    • Medication costs
    • Medical copays
    • Lost wages if you miss work while recovering
    • Vehicle repair costs
    • And more

Noneconomic damages may include:

    • Physical pain and suffering
    • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
    • Anxiety, depression
    • Emotional distress
    • Disfigurement
    • Disability
    • Loss of enjoyment of life
    • Loss of companionship

In short, accepting a cash offer after a crash could leave you paying a lot of money out of pocket. You cannot know the total cost of your damages without:

  • A medical check-up to determine if you have any injuries
  • An appraisal of what it costs to repair your vehicle
  • How much value your vehicle will lose because of the car crash
  • What future expenses may result from a crash

PKSD is Ready to Help Crash Victims Recover Full Compensation

After a car crash, accepting a cash offer from the at-fault party is rarely a good idea. You could benefit much more from having a qualified and experienced attorney on your side.

At PKSD, we are ready to help protect your interests, provide legal guidance and fight for maximum compensation. We have extensive experience helping injured victims throughout Wisconsin, recovering millions on their behalf.

If you have been injured because of another driver’s negligence, our Milwaukee car crash lawyers are ready to help you. Call for your free initial consultation today to learn about your potential legal options. There are no upfront costs or fees if we represent you, so there is no risk to you.

PKSD. Proven results from a trusted law firm. 414-333-3333

Back to top